"Are monsters born? Or are they made?"
White Christmas (화이트 크리스마스, Monster) is an 8 episode 2011 Korean Drama Special which aired on KBS2.
Susin High is an extremely exclusive and prestigious private Boarding School, open to only the top 0.1% of the nation's students and secluded in the snowy mountains, far away from civilization. Most of its students consider the stringent school to be more like a prison and the eight days of Christmas break (the only time they are allowed away from their studies) their only chance to escape all year. This year however, seven students choose to stay at Susin during the break, chaperoned by the P.E teacher Yoon Jong Il. They are:
- model student Park Moo Yul
- troublemaker Jo Young Jae
- Yoon Eun Sung, "the prettiest girl in Susin"
- the cold genius Choi Chi Hoon
- hearing-impaired aspiring journalist Yang Kang Mo
- quiet, unobtrusive Lee Jae Kyu
- and Yoon Su, who is nicknamed "Angel"
On Christmas Eve, the psychologist Kim Yo Han gets into a car accident on the icy roads near the school and the students take him in. He soon discovers that all is not as it seems: the students have each received a mysterious letter accusing them of committing specific sins and containing an ominous warning about the end of the break. As they try to find out who sent these letters and why, the students are thrown into a dangerous fight against a psychotic killer, their own inner demons and even each other. How many of them can survive these eight days with both their lives and their sanity?
This series contains examples of:
- The Ace: Choi Chi Hoon, who is not only the best student at Susin academically but also comes up with multiple solutions to the student's dangerous situations using his smarts.
- Adults Are Useless: And the ones who aren't are either psychotic or don't live very long.
- Air-Vent Passageway: A frequent way to bypass school security. The police team even uses it later to infiltrate the school.
- Armor-Piercing Question: When the killer has all the students ask him questions, he answers them with a smile until Choi Chi Hoon asks how many bullets he has left in his gun. Though he answers truthfully, the killer's demeanor turns serious.
- Boarding School: Susin, with an element of Elaborate University High.
- Chekhov's Armoury: Mi Reu's bandaid, a cell phone, a certain phone conversation, the school's television screen, the detention room, and many other seemingly insignificant objects and pieces of dialogue gain importance long after they have been first introduced.
- Closed Circle: Susin becomes this after ep 3 once the school's communication network is tampered with.
- Dysfunction Junction: Almost every student has some sort of hidden trauma when the show begins. And if not, they certainly do by the time the show ends...
- Even the Girls Want Her: Eun Sung. Aside from the multiple guys who are or were interested in her, Jung Hye also repeatedly notes how pretty she is.
- Failure Hero: Moo Yul, who constantly makes what would be good and rational decisions, but always ends up being screwed over because fate seems to hate him and his peers.
- He Who Fights Monsters: This trope is explicitly mentioned in the opening narration: The story Im about to tell is about my fight with a monster. I had to become a monster myself for 8 days to fight it.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold/Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: Jo Young Jae has an abrasive exterior, but under that he's complicated, going from aiding some students, to admitting to despising others and being okay if they die. His little scraps with people are sometimes playful or out of a sincere desire to hurt them.
- Lack of Empathy: Choi Chi Hoon says he has trouble feeling emotion like regular people, and he is the least emotionally expressive of the students.
- Locking MacGyver in the Store Cupboard: All you need is a hanger, an air freshener, a lighter, and Choi Chi Hoon!
- Mexican Standoff: In episode 7, between Kim Yo Han, Oh Jung Hye, Moo Yul and Chi Hoon
- Motor Mouth: Yang Kang Mo is noted as a compulsive chatter especially when under duress. During a one on one session he ends up rattling on about Die Hard and Brad Pitt. Kim Yo Han theorizes it is a defense mechanism and possibly compensation for his disability.
- Mr. Fanservice: Kang Mi Reu introduces himself coming out of the shower wearing only a small pair of underwear and showing off his built physique. When the boys are all having fun in the snow, he takes his shirt off first and is the longest to go around shirtless.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Park Moo Yul has two
- Saving the serial killer's life.
- Pushing Choi Chi Hoon off the hill and having him break his leg.
- Not So Different An unanswered question at the end is whether the students have become just like Kim Yo Han.
- Spanner in the Works: Kang Mi Reu he stays hidden and thus Kim Yo Han never finds him, and when he sneaks back in, he accidentally knocks out Kim Yo Han in one of his pranks, and that allows the kids to take back the school. Oh Jung-hye also throws a wrench into their victory by reclaiming the gun and freeing Yo Han.
- Stalker with a Crush: Several. Kim Jin Soo, Kang Mo and possibly Young Jae towards Eun Sung, and Jung Hye towards Kim Yo Han.
- Straw Vulcan: Averted with Choi Chi Hoon. He's consistently portrayed as the smartest and most rational student, keeping his head when the situation seems to boil over, always coming up with plans when problems arise, and figuring out who sent the letters, then having a calm discussion with them because of it. Even with his fight with Park Moo Yul despite Choi Chi Hoon's inability to understand why he's completely correct in calling out Park Moo Yul giving away the gun, as it leaves the weapon and ammunition in the same location, and the killer get's ahold of it again.